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Firms Wrestle With Energy Management Software Integration Challenges

Some companies are implementing many energy-management systems to try to monitor consumption and reduce energy costs. A recent report from consultants Verdantix, discussed in this item in Environmental Leader, says the proliferation of systems is causing chaos. (The report is promoted at this Verdantix site, but to get access you have to register and then talk to a Verdantix salesperson.) (A Verdantix press release on the study is here.)

Some companies have bought “eight different applications to meet 12 different usage scenarios”, says the article. These might include building management systems, demand-response programs, IT energy management products, carbon accounting software, emissions-reporting systems, transportation management tools, energy components in ERP systems, energy purchasing, and the like.

EL reports that “suppliers have mainly responded to the integration  challenge using in-house resources: 64 percent of the software suppliers  in the survey have developed their own wrap-around energy services  while a further 12 percent partner for energy services such as data  collection, processing, analysis and energy procurement.”

Verdantix identified dozens of new products introduced last year, and scores of participants offering such products, not to mention consultants to sort out the mess. The report says there is a lack of involvement of IT departments, with many energy-management solutions being adopted by other functional or operational units within the firm. It says this reflects the large role of SaaS products in this segment. IT departments and CIOs are seen as behind the curve on energy-management issues.

These findings certainly agree with my perception of the problems created by the rapid and piecemeal development of Green Data Management across industry. Of course there are many areas beside energy management that contribute to this confusion, including EHS, tracking toxics, water issues, sustainability reporting and regulatory compliance. (See The Green Data Firehose: Where Is All This Green Data Coming From? for more comments.)

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